The U.S. Department of Agriculture has sanctioned two produce businesses for failing to pay Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act reparation awards.

The companies are:

  • Sergio Felipe Produce Corp., Miami, for failing to pay $5,983 award to a Texas seller. The sole responsibly connected officer is Pedro Gonzalez.
  • Big Bear Storage & Packing Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., for failing to pay $147,818 to a Florida seller. The sole responsibly connected officer is Steven Weiss.

The USDA also filed an administrative action against El Metate Foods Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., for failing to pay its sellers, a violation of the PACA.

According to an USDA release, El Metate allegedly failed to pay six produce sellers a total of $307,678 for produce bought between March 2011 and February 2012.

El Metate will be able to request a hearing. If the USDA finds it responsible, it will be barred from operating in the industry for two years.